May 29, 2002

Miscellaneous Subjects #145: Mixed News

Hello everyone

Just to keep you posted on some of the latest that came to my attention.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator


1. Latest Update on the Situation in Israel/Palestine
3. Peace candidate running for Senate in North Carolina
4. It's Not So Slick When Oil Ends Up in the Sea
6. WTO to shut down, refound under new charter

See also:

New Arab Bombing in Israel Deepens a Sense of Dismay (28 May)
A Palestinian suicide attack on a cafe said to be filled with many women and children killed a baby girl and her grandmother and wounded 40 others.

Israel; Women and Children Targeted in Latest Bombing (28 May)
PETACH TIKVAH, Israel (AP) -- One moment, mothers sat on plastic chairs with their babies in carriages next to them at an outdoor shopping center cafe. The next, a huge blast sent bodies flying in all directions, killing a baby and her grandmother. The latest Palestinian suicide bombing, outside the Espresso Bar in the center of Petach Tikvah, a city of 165,000 next to Tel Aviv, also wounded several people and left bloodstains everywhere. (...) A six-week Israeli assault on the West Bank, in which soldiers took control of Palestinian towns and refugee camps to hunt down militants, destroy explosives labs and confiscate weapons, failed to stop the stream of bombers. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militia linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the Petach Tikvah attack in a message to The Associated Press. "We will not stop our operation as long as the occupation continues in our land,'' it said. Al Aqsa did not identify the bomber, but Palestinians said it was Jihad Titi, 18, a cousin of Mahmoud Titi, an Al Aqsa leader killed by Israeli fire last week. The involvement of teen-agers in suicide bomb attacks has increased. On Wednesday, a 16-year-old bomber blew himself up in Rishon Letzion, south of Tel Aviv, killing himself and two Israelis. CLIP

Is DOJ Saying That Gore Won Florida?

Florida Counties Seek to Avoid Suit Over Election

Justice Department Suit a "Sham" to Protect Harris, Bush

Hard-Liner Elected in Colombia With a Mandate to Crush Rebels (May 27)
Bitter after three years of fruitless peace talks, Colombian voters gave a resounding victory Sunday to a hard-right candidate for president.

Colombian President-Elect Softens Tone on Rebels (May 28)


From: Gush Shalom (Israeli Peace Bloc)
Sent: 25 May 2002
Subject: Latest Update on the Situation in Israel/Palestine

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

- Reoccupation worse than pre-’93 military government

Today, the Israeli army invaded, occupied and placed under curfew the Palestinian town of Tul Karm and its adjacent refugee camp. In a Palestinian ambush an Israeli soldier was killed and two wounded; while eight Palestinians, including a four-year old girl, were consequently wounded by a shell shot at their house from an Israeli tank.

The renewed occupation of Tel-Karm is no longer big news, as it would have been a few months ago. In fact, the media takes it mostly as a piece of weary routine, given that Israeli forces have been going regularly in and out of Tul Karm and other Palestinian towns, and that even the town’s own inhabitants have probably lost count of the number of consecutive times their town has been reoccupied.

In fact, since the beginning of April, all West Bank Palestinians have been living under an effectively restored direct military occupation, manifested in the Israeli Army and security services to sweep in, at any time and at any place, and arrest whoever they want. It doesn’t make too much difference whether the military is actually present in a particular town or village or that it is spread just outside, imposing a tight closure and siege and subjecting passage to the next town to selectively granted permits.

The Palestinian semi-sovereignty over several enclaves across the West Bank, which had been the heart of the Oslo process and which was supposed to widen and extend into complete statehood, has been effectively abolished with the tacit consent of the international community. In its place, a regime has been installed in many ways worse than the pre-1993 military government, which at least did not deny the Palestinians freedom of movement within the West Bank and which regarded itself as responsible for the maintenance of the Palestinian inhabitants’ daily life. Its present-day successor shrugs off all such responsibility, throwing it upon a crippled Palestinian Authority which is systematically deprived of the ability to act - apart from being under a constant shrill demand to “reform” itself.

- Assassination as a pure act of provocation

In theory, the Israeli army’s self-granted powers of moving at will into Palestinian territory and arresting whoever it wants should have put an end to the practice of assassinating Palestinian leaders by missiles shot from a distance. In the past, the government justified this practice by the assertion that it had no other recourse but assassination for “terrorists hiding out in Palestinian-controlled territory where we can’t reach and arrest them”.

Nowadays, that argument is no longer valid; nevertheless, two days ago - on Wednesday, May 22 - Israeli forces in the Nablus area chose to kill by missile fire three senior members of Arafat’s own Tanzim organization, who could have been captured alive easily enough.

The only possible motive for that assassination was to provoke the kind of retribution Palestinian organizations habitually take when their senior members are assassinated. In fact, the expected retribution came within a few hours of the provocation: a sixteen-year old Palestinian (the youngest suicide bomber to date) blew himslf up at the town of Rishon LeTzion, taking with him an Israeli boy of his own age as well as a 65-year old pensioner. The swiftness with which this attack followed upon the provocation incidentally proved once again that the tight siege of Palestinian towns - while severely disrupting the daily life of the general population -does not seriously hamper the movement of determined individuals and small bands.

- From the mouth of a military commentator

Aside from being morally reprehensible, suicide bombings targeting random Israelis are severly damaging to the Palestinian cause itself. This is realized - and more and more often stated explicitly and outrightly - by an increasingly large part of the Palestinian leadership. Yet in the absence of any hope for an end to the occupation, young Palestinian militants are again and again tempted to react in the depth of the Israeli cities to what happens in their own cities. Even when their raids may play into Sharon’s hands.

Alex Fishman, whose articles in Yediot Aharonot reflect the views of dissident elements within the army’s high command, formulated it as follows:

“(...) We are again entering into a bloody game of ping-pong: Israel uses the best of its accumulated intelligence to strike into the Palestinian towns and villages on the West Bank; the Palestinians - to the best of their ability - blow themselves up at Israeli population centers; a situation which Israel could not indefinitely tolerate.

In fact, we are paying the price for the fact that “Operation Defensive Shield” was followed by no political process of the kind which could have diminished the motivation of Palestinian Terrorism to send out these “Human Bombs” . No inducement was offered to make the Palestinian Authority reduce, even in a minor way, the volume of terrorism. The only sphere in which Israel is nowadays active is that of military initiatives, which do hurt the terrorist organizations’ ability but which in the absence of a political process is an invitation for continuation of the bloody ping pong” (Yediot Aharonot, May 23).

- Major disaster barely avoided

A few hours after the above words were published in Israel’s main mass-circulation paper, a major escalation was barely avoided. A bomb exploded within the major Israeli fuel depot at Pi Glilot, which is located in a thickly-inhabited area among Tel-Aviv’s northern suburbs.

Fortunately, the tanker where it was placed happened to carry fuel of a kind which is not quickly ignited; in only slightly different cicumstances, graphically emphasized in today’s Israeli papers, nearby tanks of fuel and cooking gas could have caught fire, resulting in an inferno of fire and incaculable damage and loss of life.

So far, nobody was apprehended in connection with this bomb, and no organization claimed responsibility for the attempt; but in the media its being the work of Palestinians of some faction is taken for granted; doubtlessly, had some of the doom scenarios appearing in today’s papers materialized, Sharon would have accused the Palestinians and resorted to proportionally terrible acts of retribution upon the Palestinians.

As it is, there is still some respite before some other major act of suicide bombing provides Sharon with the pretext he needs to launch the invasion of the Gaza Strip, which was already in advanced stages of preparation two weeks ago, and which the army at the time said was delayed rather than cancelled. Given the number of militants in the crowded refugee camps of Gaza and the amounts of explosives in their possession, an invasion there will be reminiscent of what happened in Jenin but much larger in scope...

- How terrible does it have to become?

Meanwhile, next week CIA Chief George Tenet is expected in the region for the second time, after several weeks in which the Bush Administration lost interest in the region as soon as it went off the media spotlight. Tenet’s brief - to offer some “suggestions” for “reform” to the Palestinians and set up “security cooperation” between the Israeli and Palestinian security services, seems too meagre to stop the ongoing escalation. All the more so considering the statements by General Moshe Ya’alon, Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Israeli armed forces who is due to take over command in July, who arrogantly declared last week “We no longer need any security cooperation with the Palestinians, we take care of all security matters by ourselves”.

What is needed is an international intervention of a much wider scope and breadth, including the stationing of an intervention force as envisaged some months ago by UN Secretary-General Annan AND a real pressure for an end to the occupation - a step which Sharon, for all his recent pretences to “moderation” has no intention of taking.

The international community may eventually take such steps, when the present countdown has run its course and terrible images from this region once again flood the screens of every TV set on earth.

[B] Settlement Tax - Gush Shalom ad in Haaretz, May 24, 2002.

The “cabinet crisis” is nothing but a smoke-screen. Not a day passes without bloodshed. Israeli assassinations in the morning, Palestinian suicide attacks in the evening.
For the policies of the Sharon government, we all pay. The grave damage to health, education and welfare, the growing tax burden, the deprivations of the jobless, the pensioners, the children and the elderly - all these are a direct and inevitable result of the war policy.
This is not a war for the existence of Israel, but a war for the existence of the settlements. All the downgrading of services and new taxes are for the good of the settlements only.

Gush Shalom

Help us publishing ads with donations to P.O. Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033, ISRAEL

See also:

Back Into Bethlehem




Laureates from Israel, Brazil, Venezuela and the UK are Recognised for their Commitment to Peace, Reconciliation and Justice, and for their Celebration of the Human Spirit. The 2001 Right Livelihood Award of SEK 2 million is shared by:

Gush Shalom and its co-founders Uri and Rachel Avnery, (Israel), who have shown the way to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and worked for several decades with courage and dedication to promote its acceptance and implementation. The Jury honours the Avnerys and all Gush Shalom activists for their unwavering conviction in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances that peace and an end to terrorism can only be achieved through justice and reconciliation.

More details on Gush Shalom at

Trident Ploughshares, (UK), represented by Angie Zelter, Ellen Moxley and Ulla Røder, honoured as a model of principled, transparent and non-violent direct action dedicated to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Their imaginative campaign highlights the illegality of these weapons. It is a timely reminder that the unprecedented nuclear threat to life on earth is still with us.

More details on Trident Ploughshares at

Leonardo Boff, (Brazil), one of the founders of liberation theology in Latin America. The Jury honours Boff for his inspiring insights into the links between human spirituality, social justice and environmental stewardship, and for his decades-long commitment to helping the poor and excluded realise these values in their lives and communities.

More details on Leonardo Boff at

José Antonio Abreu, (Venezuela), the founder of the National System of Children and Youth Orchestras, which has brought the joys and benefits of music to countless children and communities, especially among the poor. The Jury celebrates with Abreu the creativity which he has demonstrated is innate in children everywhere and applauds his achievement of a unique musical and cultural renaissance.

More details on José Antonio Abreu at

The Founder and Chairman of the Award, Jakob von Uexkull, made the following statement to clarify the selection: "The Jury has chosen these recipients from the many outstanding people and organisations who were nominated for this year's Awards in order to show positive ways forward at this time of grief, fear and insecurity. It is imperative to recognise that the only remedy for terror is justice and reconciliation and the promotion of human rights – civil, political, economic, social and ecological – for all peoples of the world. This is what our Award recipients this year, in their different ways, have committed their lives to doing. Theirs are examples from which we can all learn much." Further details about the work of these recipients is given on separate sheets. Founded in 1980, the Right Livelihood Awards are presented annually in the Swedish Parliament and are usually referred to as "Alternative Nobel Prizes". They were introduced "to honour and support those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today". Jakob von Uexkull, a Swedish-German philatelic expert, sold his valuable postage stamps to provide the original endowment. Alfred Nobel wanted to honour those whose work "brought the greatest benefit to humanity". Von Uexkull felt that the Nobel Prizes today ignore much work and knowledge vital for the future of humankind.

* * *

For further information and photos of the 2001 Award recipients, including contact addresses: Kerstin Bennett, Administrative Director Right Livelihood Award, Stockholm
Telephone: +46 (0)8-702 03 40 Fax: +46 (0)8-702 03 38

Recipients 1980-2000


From: "Elizabeth Roebling" <>
Subject: Peace candidate running for Senate in North Carolina
Date: Sat, 25 May 2002

Dear Jean,

I am writing so that your readers can know that we have a genuine peace candidate running for Senate here in North Carolina -- . She has worked all her life for the causes of justice and is taking no corporate money. She has the endorsement of the Green Party. We are running a completely grassroots campaign - yet we have the establishment shaking. The Rolling Thunder Tour - of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is taking to the road and we are aiming to take the White House. Frankly, Cynthia is more qualified than any of the other candidates for the job right now - having been a Kellogg fellow and studied and traveled in 6 continents. But we will have the government of the United States in just a few years. Thought that news might cheer everyone up

Elizabeth Roebling

Note from Jean: See also at for a bio of Cynthia and a picture of her.



It's Not So Slick When Oil Ends Up in the Sea

May 28, 2002

About 29 million gallons of petroleum enters the oceans off North America each year, shows a new study by the National Research Council. The report finds that about 85 percent of that pollution can be blamed not on massive oil spills, but on the lesser amounts released by airplanes, swept into polluted rivers and from the largest culprits: recreational boats and runoff from the land.

The amount of petroleum released into North American and global waters is less than previously thought, the committee found. At the same time, however, new studies show that the environmental effects of a major oil spill are longer lasting than once thought and that even small amounts of petroleum can seriously damage marine life and ecosystems.

"Oil spills can have long lasting and devastating effects on the ocean environment, but we need to know more about damage caused by petroleum from land based sources and small watercraft since they represent most of the oil leaked by human activities," said James Coleman, chair of the committee that wrote the report.

"This doesn't mean we can ignore hazards from drilling and shipping, however," Coleman cautioned. "Although new safety standards and advances in technology reduced the amount of oil that spilled during extraction and transport in the last two decades, the potential is still there for a large spill, especially in regions with lax safety controls."

About 47 million gallons seep naturally from the seafloor into the North American oceans, more than all human sources of petroleum pollution combined. That puts North America in a better position than the world as a whole: worldwide, about 210 million gallons of petroleum enter the sea each year from human caused petroleum sources, with an additional 180 million gallons coming from natural seepage, the report says.

Of the human caused petroleum pollution entering the oceans around North America, less than eight percent comes from oil tanker or pipeline spills, says the report by the National Academies' National Research Council (NRC), titled "Oil in the Sea: Inputs, Fates, and Effects."

The report, which relies on data from a variety of sources, is said to be far more accurate than the NRC's last such assessment in 1985.

Oily Waters

Oil slicks visible from the air and birds painted black by oil get the most public attention, but it is consumers of oil -- not the ships that transport it -- who are responsible for most of what finds its way into the ocean, the NRC says.

Oil exploration and extraction are responsible for only three percent of the petroleum that enters the sea, with their effects concentrated where oil drilling rigs are at work in the Gulf of Mexico and in waters off southern California, northern Alaska, and eastern Canada.

The bulk of the 29 million gallons from humanmade sources comes from individually small source that, combined, account for about 25 million gallons of ocean petroleum pollution.

For example, oil runoff from cars and trucks is increasing in coastal areas where the population is growing and roads and parking lots are expanding. More than one half of the land based oil contamination along the North American coastline occurs between Maine and Virginia, where there are dense seaside populations, many cities, several refineries, and high energy use, the report notes.

Rivers polluted by oil in wastewater or the improper disposal of petroleum products are also a major source of oil entering the sea.

Older two stroke engines still found on many recreational boats and jet skis were purposely designed to discharge gasoline and oil. Land runoff and recreational boating account for nearly three-quarters of the petroleum released into the sea each year through human consumption.

Other sources of oil from human activities include military and commercial jets that occasionally jettison excess fuel over the ocean and ships that release oil from their engines while in port or at sea.

The impact of an oil spill on marine life is not directly related to the size of the spill, since even a small spill in an ecologically sensitive area can have long term impacts, the NRC found. A spill's influence also depends on the type and amount of toxics present in the petroleum product being released.

The riskiest toxics are a class of organic compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Growing evidence suggests that PAHs and other toxic compounds can have adverse effects on marine species even at very low concentrations. This means chronic releases from runoff and recreational boating may inflict more damage than previously thought, and that the effects of large spills may last as long as residual oil persists in the area.

Gulf of Mexico Impacted - CLIP


Date: Mon, 20 May 2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ICIS: CONTACT: USA - Dr. Carol Rosin (805) 641-1999/ Canada - Alfred Webre, JD, MEd (604) 733-8134/


F.H. Knelman, Ph.D. <>

The Russian agreement to the U.S.-initiated agreement to cut their strategic nuclear forces by two-thirds is astounding, given that this is playing directly into U.S. plans for global supremacy. For one thing, the U.S. is not going to actually destroy but only shelve the above cuts, at any time able to retrieve them from storage. The Russian nuclear military regime, on the other hand, is in shambles. Retrieval for them will be more difficult. At the same time, the Russians are actually requesting U.S. assistance to rationalize their nuclear regime, providing the U.S. with important intelligence data, such as the stored missile site.

But even worse, the basic motive of the U.S. in initiating these strategic missile cuts is to improve the effectiveness of their anti- ballistic missile defences, radically reducing the number of targets comprising a Russian attack on the U.S. Given the U.S. basic counterforce strategy, we are moving into a time when mutual assured destruction between the two major nuclear powers is becoming an American monopoly, altering the mutual to the unilateral. Do the Russians really believe that the land-based missile defences being constructed in Alaska and the new Northern Command are directed to an attack by Iraq?

The only possible rationale for the Russian position is that they are confident they can develop a variety of penetrating aids for their strategic missiles which will distract, confuse and overcome U.S. missile defences. We would then be entering a new dynamic of the nuclear arms race between anti-missiles and anti-anti-missiles. Given the disarray of the Russian nuclear regime and their general economic problems, the latter may be a vain hope.

Thus we are left to conclude that the Russian position is inexplicable. They had the opportunity to tie strategic missile reductions in exchange for the U.S. to uphold the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. Could it just have been the mighty U.S. dollar that denied them this option? For example, we know they desperately require assistance to clean up their vast nuclear reserves consisting of huge amounts of radioactive waste, large numbers of tactical weapons and stockpiles of weapons grade nuclear materials comprising an open invitation for accidents or acts of malice of one kind or another. Also we are witnessing an increasing U.S. presence in the former Soviet republics that surround Russia, at some future time representing a direct threat. And finally, we cannot understand Russia's lack of response at being identified as one of the seven enemy states to be targeted with nuclear weapons in the U.S. 2002 Nuclear Posture Review, let alone the existing U.S. Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), a nuclear hit list against Russian targets of value. And surely they are aware of the U.S. first disarming strike policy.

Putin can still recoup a major diplomatic victory by supporting the forthcoming Space Preservation Treaty. Both Russia and China have expressed their opposition to the U.S. abrogation of the Anti- Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972. Together Canada, Russia and China could have a very positive impact on the success of the Treaty. The Space Preservation Treaty, initiated by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), is being circulated to every nation-state leader. It can be immediately signed and sent to the U.N. Secretary General’s office as Treaty Depositary, and ratified quickly.

The Space Preservation Treaty is an international companion to legislation introduced by Kucinich in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 3616, the Space Preservation Act of 2002, in January, 2002. Both the Treaty and the bill ban all space-based weapons and the use of weapons designed to destroy any object in space that is in orbit. It also immediately terminates research, development, testing, manufacturing, and deployment of all space- based weapons, but does not prohibit space exploration, R&D, testing, production, manufacturing and deployment of any civil, commercial or defense activities in space that are not related to space-based weapons, thus reserving space for the benefit of all living things on our small planet. This Treaty will also be verifiable. It requires that an outer space peacekeeping agency be established to monitor and enforce the ban.

The momentum of getting this Treaty supported and passed into law has begun, and this ban on space-based weapons can become reality in 2002. This world treaty will fill the legal void left by the abrogation of the ABM Treaty. It will replace the ABM Treaty. With the support of Canada, Russia and China a large majority of members of the United Nations would likely sign on to the Treaty, as most nation-state leaders have already expressed support for preserving space for weapons-free peaceful, cooperative purposes. The European Union (with the exception of Britain) are likely signatories. Isolating the United States and exposing its unilateralism and contempt for the rest of the world is, in itself, a lofty goal. A possible change in the balance of power in the U.S. Congress at the end of 2002 and a strong contender for a president in 2004 devoted to strength through peace rather than the reverse, who could establish this Treaty as Universal Law and save the world from an inevitable nuclear catastrophe.

In conclusion, the Space Preservation Treaty is one of the most important initiatives of our time! It is truly worthy of our support. Let us all begin by moving Canada to be an early signatory.

For detailed information on the Space Preservation Treaty, contact the Institute for Cooperation in Space (ICIS) at, c/o Dr. Carol Rosin : e-mail: or call 805-641-1999 (in the U.S.) or Alfred Webre JD MEd at or call 604-733-8134 (in Canada).


Date: Thu, 23 May 2002
Subject: WTO to shut down, refound under new charter

At 5/23/2002 06:39 AM, World Trade Organisation Public Relations wrote:

[NOTE: On May 21, information regarding the WTO's restructuring was released prematurely at a special luncheon of CPA Australia, Sydney (

The early release of this information, which met with overwhelming approval, has accelerated this announcement, originally scheduled for next Friday.]

May 23, 2002


After a protracted and detailed review of current trade policy and its effects on developing countries, the World Trade Organization has decided to effect a cessation of all operations, to be accomplished over a period of four months, culminating in September. The WTO will reintegrate as a new trade body whose charter will be to ensure that trade benefits the poor.

As of September, agreements reached under the WTO will be suspended pending ratification by the new organization, tentatively referred to as the Trade Regulation Organization. Many existing agreements are likely to be re-ratified, but each will be subject to individual review for compliance with the TRO's charter, which is based upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The restructuring has come in response to numerous studies ( indicating that current trade liberalisation rules and policies have led to increased poverty and inequality, and have eroded democratic principles, with a disproportionately large effect on the poorest countries.

Under the restructuring, the GATS agreement will be scrapped entirely, and a new agreement regulating services will be forged after an assessment of the effects of past services liberalisation, and when there has been adequate opportunity for governments and civil society to analyse and debate new proposals.

In addition, all aspects of TRIPS, TRIMS, AoA, and other agreements will be reviewed with humanitarian and other considerations in mind, and will be progressively replaced with corresponding versions under the TRO.

Proposals and resolutions for the foundation of the TRO will be evaluated beginning in June according to their likelihood of furthering the TRO charter. Specifically this will mean redressing the imbalances of existing trade agreements; providing access for developing countries to developed countries' markets; assessing the effects past trade liberalization and redressing problems where possible; and developing an enforceable framework for special and differential treatment guaranteeing that development policies are not undermined by trade agreements.

The immediate necessity, besides fixing core problems, will be to build a new regime of trust among members (notably between HIC and LDC members), with civil society organizations (NGOs), and with members of the public. The core goal is to establish rules whose priority is to benefit the poor, improve the environment, and strengthen democratic principles--in a pragmatic and immediate rather than theoretical and longterm sense.

In order to provide greater access to the Least Developed Countries who will most benefit from the existence of the TRO, the organisation's headquarters will be moved from their current location in Geneva to the capital of one of the LDCs. Proposals for final location are currently being solicited.


World Trade Organization Public Relations:
CPA Australia Public Relations:

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Studies page:

This release online:


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Jay Fenello